Bob Welch (left) seen on the back cover of 1974's "Heroes Are Hard to Find," the final album he made with Fleetwood Mac. Reprise Records
(CBS/AP) Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac have spoken out about the death of their former band member Bob Welch.
Welch, who was a guitarist for the group in the '70s, died Thursday at his Nashville home of an apparent suicide, according to police. He was 66.
"He was a very, very profoundly intelligent human being and always in good humor, which is why this is so unbelievably shocking," Fleetwood told Reuters. "He was a huge part of our history which sometimes gets forgotten...mostly his legacy would be his songwriting abilities that he brought to Fleetwood Mac, which will survive all of us."
Welch was a guitarist and vocalist for Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974. When Welch left, Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the group as it embarked on its most successful period with the 1976 hit album "Rumours."
Nicks told The Associated Press that Welch's death hit her hard.
"The death of Bob Welch is devastating ... I had many great times with him after Lindsey and I joined Fleetwood Mac. He was an amazing guitar player -- he was funny, sweet -- and he was smart. I am so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac -- so, so sad ..."
Police spokesman Don Aaron said Welch was found dead with a chest wound by his wife at their Nashville home around 12:15 p.m. Thursday. Aaron said Welch apparently had had health issues recently. He said a suicide note was left.